FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 24, 2016
TEXT: JOHN 16:5-15; JAMES 1:16-21; IS. 12:1-6
WHAT JESUS SPEAKS OF – WE SING OF!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.  Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


“Rejoice…with exultation…with holy rapture singing.”  (Martin Luther – LSB 556).  Sing praises to the Lord for he has done gloriously…shout and sing for joy… (The prophet Isaiah 12:5-6).  Sing to the Lord a new song for he has revealed his righteousness…break forth into joyous song and sing praises… (The Introit – Psalm 98).


There is surely something to sing about in Jesus’ beautiful sermon to His disciples – in His word to us today!  The context, however, would not indicate that.   In the setting in which He speaks, His disciples are in deep sorrow at His imminent departure.  He spoke to keep them from falling away.  He warned them that they would be excommunicated from the synagogues.  He even said those who killed them would think they were doing God a service (John 16:1-3).  He was taking away their delusions about the nature of His Kingdom in this hostile world.  He had been with them visibly for years and the visible nature of His presence was about to change.


Now I am going to him who sent me…but because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.  For three years their life had revolved around His.  When someone once volunteered to follow Him Jesus said, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head (Mt. 8:20).  The Lord and His own were constantly on the move and those He spoke to in our text were the ones He had specifically called to follow Him in His public ministry.  Peter once said for the twelve – We have left everything and followed you (Mt. 19:27).

TEXT: JOHN 16:5-15; JAMES 1:16-21; IS. 12:1-6
WHAT JESUS SPEAKS OF – WE SING OF!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.  Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


“Rejoice…with exultation…with holy rapture singing.”  (Martin Luther – LSB 556).  Sing praises to the Lord for he has done gloriously…shout and sing for joy… (The prophet Isaiah 12:5-6).  Sing to the Lord a new song for he has revealed his righteousness…break forth into joyous song and sing praises… (The Introit – Psalm 98).


There is surely something to sing about in Jesus’ beautiful sermon to His disciples – in His word to us today!  The context, however, would not indicate that.   In the setting in which He speaks, His disciples are in deep sorrow at His imminent departure.  He spoke to keep them from falling away.  He warned them that they would be excommunicated from the synagogues.  He even said those who killed them would think they were doing God a service (John 16:1-3).  He was taking away their delusions about the nature of His Kingdom in this hostile world.  He had been with them visibly for years and the visible nature of His presence was about to change.


Now I am going to him who sent me…but because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.  For three years their life had revolved around His.  When someone once volunteered to follow Him Jesus said, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head (Mt. 8:20).  The Lord and His own were constantly on the move and those He spoke to in our text were the ones He had specifically called to follow Him in His public ministry.  Peter once said for the twelve – We have left everything and followed you (Mt. 19:27).


And now He spoke of going away. 


I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.  But if I go I will send him to you.  The word for “helper” is also translated as “comforter.” It means – one who is called alongside to help – even in a legal sense.  It is seen as the word “Paraclete” in hymns for Pentecost.  It is a beautiful word of presence and help and comfort.  But who could give more of that than Jesus.  How could any circumstance be more beneficial – more advantageous than what the disciples had experienced with Jesus?  Three years of His teaching and healing and forgiving and wonders such as calming the sea and raising the dead.  If you are going to leave everything and follow someone – surely He’s the one!  What could give them more advantage than the visible presence of Jesus? 

 

Jesus pointed to the helper (the Paraclete) who would come alongside His followers.  When he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.  All of the teaching and healing and wonders that Jesus did – ultimately dealt with sin and righteousness and judgment.  The work of the helper flows from and calls to and builds on the work Jesus is doing. 


He will convict the world…concerning sin, because they do not believe in me.  Jesus had said God sent Him that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:17-18).  He said – Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life (John 5:24) and unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins (John 8:24).  In declaring Jesus to us, the Holy Spirit continues this proclamation of Jesus.  He reveals unbelief in Jesus of Nazareth as the fount and source of every sin.  With an oral word or preaching office the Holy Spirit rebukes the world.  To be convicted means to be declared guilty of an offense. However people live and whatever they do, their chief sin is unbelief in Jesus Christ.  This rebuke knocks away props and cuts off all pretense of goodness before God.  This convicting work the world does not understand and responds to with anger or disdain.   


Even for Christians this convicting work of the Spirit strikes close to home.  Your Old Adam, your sinful nature, has not, does not, and will not ever believe in Jesus.  He will never be persuaded or improved in this regard.  That is why He must be daily drowned and put to death by the New Man who joyfully confesses Christ.  The prayer of the father of the demon-possessed boy whom Jesus healed is fitting, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).  C. F. W. Walther the first president of the Missouri Synod taught pastors – “When a parishioner comes to you complaining of his inability to believe, you must tell him that you are not surprised at his statement; for no man can; he would be a marvel if he could.  And you must instruct him to do nothing but listen to the Word of God and God will give him faith” (Law and Gospel, 264).


The Word of God is the means the Spirit uses to convict of the sin of unbelief, in Jesus.  It is also the means the Holy Spirit uses to convict of the righteousness given by Jesus.  He will convict the world…concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer.  This righteousness is Christ Himself!  His way back to the Father would not be a pleasant stroll through hill and valley.  It would include a hill - a place of crucifixion called Golgotha.  It would include a valley – the valley of the shadow of death.  It would include the full punishment for the sin of the world – in time - and even the eternal punishment of hell. 


Jesus used the same word “convict” in an earlier conversation with the Pharisees.  In a heated exchange Jesus said – you are of your father the devil and asked which of you convicts me of sin? (John 8:46).  None of them could answer.  On His way back to the Father, the Father Himself convicted Jesus of all sin as our substitute.  His cry of God-forsakenness could rightly be taken, “Why have you declared Me, the sinless one to be sin itself?”  The answer lies in our hearts – our rebellious, self-idolizing, controlling hearts.  The answer lies in God’s will that Jesus’ innocence bear our sin.  Jesus’ way back to the Father was stamped with our condemnation – imprinted with the declaration – “paid in full!”  His way back to the Father purchased His righteousness for us.


There is no greater advantage in life than to believe, despite your unbelief, that the righteousness of the Son of God is yours as a gift.  You can have no greater advantage in life than to believe that the Holy Trinity who put His Name on you in Holy Baptism counts you as His child through faith in Jesus.  Of his own will he brought you forth by the Word of truth indeed by the Word made flesh who is the truth!  You can have no greater advantage in life than to be convicted that Satan is judged – that he stands condemned.  He of crushed head continues to accuse you but his accusations carry no weight before your heavenly Father.  Your cancelled, forgiven sins can do you no harm.  When the devil attacks your conscience, point him away from you to the right hand of the Father where Jesus intercedes for you.  For you He strives and wrestles – He who led the devil captive.  In order for even one of Satan’s accusations to stand against you, they must break through Jesus who covers you with His righteousness.  What an advantage the helper gives to you!


Jesus said, He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  That declaration has consequences!  What God says, God does.  As Jesus speaks His absolution into your ears, the Holy Spirit convicts of its certainty – of real saving forgiveness for real stinking sin!  As the risen Christ serves His body and His blood to you with the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit convicts you to receive it in faith – His body once sacrificed – His blood once shed.  As Jesus said, He will take what is mine and declare it to you.”


None of these gifts are magical or mechanical.  They are holy mysteries – miracles of God’s giving through means He has chosen.  They may not seem impressive to sight and sense but they are eternally advantageous to body and soul!  Foolish says the world!  Wisdom supreme says the Holy Spirit!


Beloved that’s why we sing of what Jesus speaks of!  This is the new song – forever new – sung for eternity in the new heavens and the new earth.  The Lord is my strength and my song and has become my salvation.  Jesus’ going to the Father is the source of every good and perfect gift – in fact Jesus is the good and perfect gift.  Jesus’ going to the Father is an abbreviated expression of God’s gracious plan of salvation.  His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.  Jesus’ going to the Father takes away the curse because Jesus became a curse for us.  Jesus’ going to the Father reconciles you to God because Jesus was forsaken by God for you.  Jesus’ going to the Father provides a singular, unusual, righteousness that covers you – Christ Himself. 


What an advantage the Holy Spirit gives to you! You have been given a way of thinking and evaluating that is different from the ordinary.  You don’t come to weekly worship for a pep talk or for good advice on stress management.  You don’t gather here to have your ego stroked.  You don’t come to God’s house believing your biggest problems are political.  You didn’t come to the Divine Service today believing in some generic god - thought to say – just be sincere and do the best you can.


Against every fiber of your Old Adam you are here today – confessing your sin – and confessing Jesus Christ as your righteousness before God!  This is not your own doing!  The love of Christ controls you – dominates you – concluding that one has died for all (2 Cor. 5:14).   Reflect on this blessed conviction and where it comes from.  Indeed – Shout and sing for joy – for great in your midst is the holy one of Israel. 


Dear Christian, you are the goal of the Trinity’s unified action in the beautiful sermon that Jesus preaches to His disciples.  God invites you to rest your heart here – on Jesus.  God invites you to anchor your hope here – in Jesus.  Sing to the Lord a new song for he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. 


In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a